Holiday Speech & Language Toy Guide (Birth – 3 years)

December 5, 2017

With the holidays quickly approaching, you might be in search of some family-friendly games that your child will love that will also double as enhancements to their speech and language skills. Below is a list of toys recommended by speech-language pathologists that you can use with your child to enhance their speech and language skills while also promoting family fun! 

Toy: Catch and Count Fishing Game. 

Catch and Count

Price of Toy & where you can purchase it: $19.99-24.99 from Target, Kohl’s, Amazon

Language Ideas:

  • Focus on identifying numbers and colors
  • Expand utterances by describing the fish the player caught (e.g., blue fish, one fish, etc.)

Pragmatic Ideas:

  • Turn-taking while waiting to catch your next fish         
    • Work on requesting with vocabulary including: more, no, up, down

Title of Toy: Bowling Set (Plain sets or all different character sets). 


Price of Game & where you can purchase it: $9.99-14.99 from Walmart, Amazon  

Language Ideas:

  • Build on child’s cause/effect play skills while attempting to knock over the pins
  • Make different shapes with the pins to knock over (e.g., circle, triangle, etc.)
  • Incorporate different vocabulary words such as roll, line up, knock down, pick up, all, none

Pragmatic Ideas:

  • Taking-turns by setting up the game and knocking it over
  • Work on requesting by withholding the ball until your child asks for it. Wait until the child asks for help when setting up the pins and using the ball.  

Title of Toy: Ball Drop Advanced with Bridge “It’s a toddler version of Marble Run”

Ball Drop

Price of Toy & where you can purchase it: $26.99 from Amazon

Language Ideas:

  • Expanding on your child’s words/utterances (e.g., Child says, “ball”, and you respond by saying, “ You want the green ball”)
  • Give verbal choices so that your child is learning new vocabulary (e.g., Do you want the green ball or blue ball?, This one or that one?)

Pragmatic Ideas:

  • Focus on requesting by withholding all of the pieces and having your child ask for each piece to build a design

Title of Game: Seek-a-Boo Seek and Find Memory Game

Seek a Boo

Price of Game & where you can purchase it: $15.99 -19.99 from Toys-R-Us, Amazon, Target

Language Ideas:

  • Build on receptive language by finding various picture cards given their name, function, or category (e.g., “Bring me the fish”, “Find something that you can eat”, “Bring me an animal”)
  • Build expressive language skills by labeling the pictures by their name, color, or function
  • Play a matching game with the cards and focus on vocabulary of “same” vs. “different”

Pragmatic Ideas:

  • Turn taking by hiding the cards while the other person finds them and vice versa

Title of Toy: Cutting Food (Mellisa and Doug or Small World Toys Living)

Play Food 2

Price of Toy & where you can purchase it: $15.99-19.99 from Kohl’s, Amazon

Language Ideas:

  • Label the various food items and count the pieces for each food
  • Build on action words such as “cut”, “peel”, “slice”

Pragmatic Ideas:

  • Give verbal choices to help your child learn new labels and verbally ask for the various food items
  • To build more independent requesting, make sure to withhold the items and wait for your child to ask, gesture, or vocalize
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